Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Frank Robinson dead: Baseball's first black manager in MLB dead at 83

Frank Robinson dead: Baseball's first black manager in MLB dead at 83

In 1975 he became Major League Baseball's first African-American manager with the Cleveland Indians and went on to manage the Giants, Orioles, Expos and Nationals.

An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons and a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove outfielder and a bruising runner. Robinson went on to play for five teams during his more than two-decade long career, winning the Triple Crown in 1966 with the Orioles during the same season that he won his first World Series championship-and was voted World Series MVP-with Baltimore. The Reds, Orioles and Indians retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums.

"Frank Robinson might have been the best I ever saw at turning his anger into runs".

After his career in the dugout, Robinson filled a variety of roles with the league and all the while tirelessly advocated for more opportunities for African-Americans in baseball.

After 10 seasons in Cincinnati, he joined the Baltimore Orioles, and won a World Series in his first season in Baltimore.

In 1970, Robinson led the Orioles to another World Series victory, this time over his former team the Reds.

One Sunday in a long-ago spring, sudden lightning cracked from Frank Robinson's bat, and in a few electric seconds, one of Baltimore's greatest legends was born.

"Knowing what he's done out beyond baseball and being the first black manager and then working at the commissioner's office, I like what he did after he retired", Horton said.

On the field, Robinson was one of the game's most-feared sluggers for a almost unfathomable stretch, with his first All-Star nod coming in his Rookie of the Year season of 1956 and his final one occurring in 1974, his final full campaign. But by 1965, despite hitting 33 home runs and driving in 113 runs, Red's management considered him old and expendable. He was manager of the year in 1989 with Baltimore. Across parts of 16 seasons as a manager, Robinson's teams compiled a 1,065-1,176 record.

"We mourn the loss of Hall of Famer and Orioles Legend Frank Robinson", the Orioles wrote in a short statement on Twitter.

His ability to exact revenge on pitchers who knocked him down became so well known that Phillies manager Gene Mauch was said to have fined any pitcher who dared dust off Robinson. He signed to the Cincinnati Reds and he made his professional debut at age 21.

Robinson also worked for Major League Baseball from 2006-15.

Because he helped pave the way for future generations of black players and managers, Robinson will always be among the most important figures in MLB's history.

Tough and demanding, he went 1,065-1,176 overall as a big league manager. "You don't find too many people like that", Horton said. He is survived by his wife Barbara and their two children.

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